The Government and the Labour Party buried their differences and pledged to work together to rebuild Christchurch after Parliament today passed legislation granting unprecedented powers to authorities responsible for getting the job done.

Ministers and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority will be able to cut through laws that would hold up the rebuild and make decisions about the future of homes and buildings.

With powers that have been described as "wartime", they can compulsorily purchase properties and decide the future viability of streets and suburbs.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee clashed with Labour earlier today over the way amendments to the bill had been drafted at the last minute and passed under urgency without the usual amount of close scrutiny.

Most of more than 30 changes to the bill were the result of a rushed select committee hearing in Christchurch yesterday, and most of them dealt with arrangements for consultation and compensation.

"I want to express my great confidence that we will emerge from this event a very, very strong city and we will have a CBD that will be one of the safest places in the southern hemisphere to live," Mr Brownlee said during the third reading debate on the bill.

"While we can have a bit of acrimony about process, going forward we do need a lot more unity and it is my intention to engage properly in the cross-party forum."

Mr Brownlee gave a commitment that the community forum which will be set up to consult with authorities would be truly representative, and would be listened to.

Labour's earthquake recovery spokesman, Clayton Cosgrove, said Labour's commitment to working with the Government had been sorely tested.

"We want the best outcome for Cantabrians and despite our grave concerns, we will continue to work with the Government to try to make this legislation work for the good of all our communities," he said.

The Green Party voted against the bill because it believes the powers granted under it are too strong.

"An extraordinary event doesn't require extraordinary powers," said MP Kennedy Graham.

"It requires extraordinary effort and commitment."

Mr Graham said Parliament needed two weeks to debate the legislation properly.

Parliament's two independent MPs, Chris Carter and Hone Harawira, also opposed it and the the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Bill was passed by 109 votes to 11.

- NZPA